How’s it been for you? I see so many perfect Instagram posts about how wonderfully people are coping throughout lock down and how home schooling has been nailed, along with working from home and all the perfectly kept homes and gardens. It’s not just Instagram it’s pretty much plastered all over social media of any sort. So many posts of how much people are looking forward to spending lots of time with their partners and children, if they have them, and how the moments are to be treasured. That’s fantastic, I’m really pleased for you. Genuinely I am. Even I felt like this to start with.
Perhaps your children are perfect and will sit in full concentration hanging on to every educational word you mutter and are happy to share the required PC world sized collection of electronic devices needed for home schooling. Or perhaps you have a partner who isn’t working and will happily take the responsibility of managing the housework and keep out of your way whilst you’re working, or perhaps you both work and have managed to coordinate your work schedules and space so you are in perfect harmony with each other.
You have the perfect life, I envy you!
The reality of it may be very different. Your kids may be feral and refusing to dress in anything other than the pyjamas worn for the past three days that are becoming decidedly smelly and sticky. Oh and good luck trying to get them in the shower! Or you are now after an initial flutter of ‘wow, this is fab working together’ you realise your partner’s working habits are distracting and you have to share the dining table because you don’t have the luxury of a spare room, and quite frankly if they interrupt another meeting then there’s no guessing what you’ll do, and what is it with bloody zoom meetings anyway?! Seriously I haven’t had one yet where I don’t look like Uncle Fester on steroids! Or perhaps you have partners who maybe aren’t working and haven’t lifted a finger to do the housework, although the washing pile isn’t so bad as everyone is wearing clothes for at least three days, and they’re sitting on their arse all day binge watching Netflix or permanently attached to the games controller!
Yes, dear readers that is pretty much what it has ended up being like for many. And for me? Well, I have the experience of my semi-feral children wearing two day old pyjamas and the only way I was going to get them anywhere near water was to encourage them in the pool for a swim, whilst simultaneously wrestling a kindle, a laptop and the telly controls off them in the process. My kids have only ever been slightly ‘trainable’, you should try living with a head strong sassy girl who does “talk to the hand” with some serious sass, and a boy who could be the next David Attenborough with his keenness for nature and all things grubby, who simply must bring in the grasshoppers and varying manner of bugs he finds – we’re currently running a caterpillar hotel in the living room, don’t ask, just don’t go there, so after days or should I say weeks of being cooped up and trying to do all the expected home schooling and various other arduous tasks on the never ending to list, and getting to the point of frustration where I just think coffee just isn’t going to cut it and where’s the Gin! And, who’s that wimpering again? Ah… it’s me (hangs head in shame!).
We have the luxury of having a spare room so I was able to ensure hubby was cordoned off each day. As long as he had his supply of coffee and biscuits, which he would pop and get on his irregular tea breaks, he was happy to be there. It’s amazing what a constant supply of naughty snack food can do to productivity!
And then there were the hours upon hours of waiting to see if an online delivery slot would become available, and then when you thought you’d got one you realised that you aren’t considered essential (story of my life, eye roll!), and damn it you’ll now have to go out and somehow face the world in something other than clothes that you’ve been slobbing around in doing the housework, gardening and various DIY jobs that needed finishing off on the to do list(s), because you never just have one list do you? There’s always more than one on the go that just seems to continually get longer and longer. The thought of putting on make up and brushing my hair was almost as bad as trying to figure out what to change into, especially as most things don’t fit due to slight excess covid calorie consumption and because, let’s face it, it’s much nicer to watch Joe Wickes keeping the nation going with his PE with Joe sessions every morning than actually work up a sweat joining in! After the first one nearly killed me I thought I’d join in from the sofa, wink, wink!
So, after mustering up the enthusiasm to actually go out, when you get to the shop you are faced with social distancing rules which so many people seem incapable of following. Yes, the guy with the sudden urge to breathe on my neck and reach over me whilst I’m getting something from the bakery aisle! Nice one mate! I have to say my meals at home were particularly inventive especially as we tend to eat a lot of pasta and rice in any normal given time, but could I get any? No, because the whole bloody nation went mad and bought sixty billion bags of rice, pasta and toilet roll! Seriously, if you need that amount of toilet roll then you should have been seeing a Doctor way before Corona came to town!
There were a couple of occasions where I was honestly beginning to struggle a little with lock down. I found it particularly hard when it came to family birthdays, of which there were three at the height of lockdown and one during easing. I really struggled to keep a happy face when I dropped off my Dad’s birthday gift, as I couldn’t go in and have a chat like I would normally do, and it’s just not the same on the phone. We had both kids birthdays as well and this was quite hard for us all, as they couldn’t have their friends or grandparents over which we would normally do. Family mean so much to me and not being able to do the things we have taken for granted has been really hard emotionally. I did make a point of checking in with my parents daily with a text to make sure everyone was ok, we chatted a couple of times a week to keep some kind of sanity and this did help a little. I was glad when I could go and have a socially distanced meet up for my Mum’s birthday. Just being able to sit in the garden with my parents was lovely.
I was also quite glad that they started easing lock down, although I still had my concerns and the news reports about packed beaches and tourist hotspots just reinforced my belief that some people are just inherently stupid, but for me I was happy that some schools were beginning to re-open with ‘class bubbles’ and the kids could begin to get some learning done whilst still keeping it as safe as can be given the unknowns with Covid-19. I found it much easier when the youngest went back in reception and I then only had to deal with home schooling the other one. Which was still challenging as he’d got to the point where he was just fed up with it all and wanted to go back. I think he just saw it all as an extended holiday and would often dig his heels in refusing to do anything until at least 11 o’clock in the morning, of which by then I’d run out of enthusiasm too, after all watching Joe being energetic is quite tiring…
All the kids got to go back for a reset week, which I thought was the best thing for them. They got to see their friends again and had some proper class teaching which is what they needed. My kids have now finished for the summer so we will continue in our efforts to keep up to speed whilst having some fun over the holiday, and the kids have lots of fab challenges set for them to do so I’m sure if we find ourselves at a loose end there’s always something there. Although I’m bracing myself for the constant “mum”, “where’s the…”, “I’m hungry”, “I’m thirsty”, and the running around picking up their dirty clothes for which I need a HASMAT suit to go near, or opening ‘mum’s café’ at breakfast time and throughout the day for that matter, serving up all manner of lovely choices of food for them only to take one bite and discard and say “want something else”.
I love my children, however, I do feel the need to say at this point that I’m going on strike. Gin anyone?
Take care, stay safe